japanese art, design and culture
Spoon-Tamago

Posts from — August 2009

More Trees, please

My friends over at Rightning just informed me of an interesting photo exhibit they will be hosting in September. And yes, in about 9 hours it will be September. Touch Wood is group show of photogs who are also members of More Trees an environmental activist organization founded by Sakamoto Ryuichi. The 10 or so photographers have been asked to submit images that relate to forestry, which will then be sold with 100% of proceeds going to the More Trees organization. If you’re around, go check out some cool green art!

Shibuya PARCO Part I, 6th Floor, PARCO FACTORY
September 4th – 23rd  2009
Admission: 500 yen

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TOP: Forest Guardian by Naki

touch wood yoshihiko_ueda touch wood itaru_hirama
LEFT: QUINAULT NO.13 (2009) by Yoshihiko Ueda
RIGHT: Tanaka Min, Baodori Dance, Koshikijima Island (2009) by Itaru Hirama

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TOP: What the field mouse lost (2009) by Takashi Morimizu

August 31, 2009   4 Comments

yuck…what a day

It is a yucky dreary rainy day here in New York. I just dropped off Huey at daycare. First he wanted to hold his own umbrella, then he wanted to be held while holding his own umbrella and then he just wanted to be held.

I wish I had this. Oh yea, and this umbrella pot by Kyouei Design.

umbrella pot2

August 28, 2009   3 Comments

Mobile Speakers

I would like to have one of these Mobile Speakers designed by Japanese artist Yoshihiko Satoh, for Marumiya Furniture. I love how it actually functions as a bag to hold your ipod. You can purchase them here (31,500 yen).

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Found on id site

August 27, 2009   9 Comments

Children’s Activity Center in Okinawa

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The 2009 Kids Design Awards were announced recently in Japan and the results, honestly, were a little lackluster. I felt like there wasn’t the same playful creativity that we saw last year. However, the winner of the architecture category, a public kids activity center in Okinawa, certainly stood out from the crowd. The space was co-designed by Jin Hosoya Architects and Sachiko Funaki. I love that funny looking man that keeps popping up everywhere. But I find the panoramic shots (click to enlarge) annoying…very blog-unfriendly.

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August 26, 2009   3 Comments

the Happa Hotel

0821tokyo

Check out this awesome collaborative project by Aoyama Meguro gallery and Schemata Architects. For 3000 yen a night you can stay in happa, a makeshift hotel right in the offices of the aforementioned pair (who happen to have studios in the same bldg). Since it is part of the Architecture Japan 2009 exhibition, the entire getup, except for the hammock bed, is made out of Styrofoam used in architectural models. It even boasts all the luxury amenities that any high-end hotel would offer; a coffee shop (utilizing Schemeta’s meeting room) and an artsy book shop (with material kindly supplied by Utrecht). Awesome!

perspective

via The Moment

August 25, 2009   Comments Off

Good Design Awards | Part 5

Happy Friday! I’ve been giving my own personal preview of the Good Design Awards throughout the week and I’ll be wrapping up with the Digital Content category today. It would be cool if some of my picks end up winning but I don’t have very high expectations…

MEXT

Website: LINK
Client: Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Tech
Designer: Business Architects
Government agencies, by nature, are distant and somewhat mysterious. MEXT wanted to change that perception and help people understand what they really do. The result is a fun and inviting website that includes tons of statistics and documents archived in an interactive format that encourages people to make their own discoveries.

hamano

Website: LINK
Client: Hamano Bags
Designer: Risky Brand
Hamano, perhaps one of Japan’s oldest maker of luxury leather goods, was first established in 1880 but had been making leather sword holders for the samurai even before that. Clients included Princess Dianna and other notable royalty, making their brand an obsession amongst the wealthy. The relaunching of their  brand via a new website symbolizes an important move in increasing their presence among their European counterparts.

Related:

August 21, 2009   Comments Off

Truths only kids can see by DENTSU

Title: Truths only kids can see
Designer: Dentsu
For: Kadokawa Tsubasa (a maker of kids books)
Lenticular printing is a very common technology often used in ads that morph as you walk by them. But by simply rotating the printing from horizontal to vertical you create an image that changes depending on the viewer’s height. This way they succeeded in creating an ad that only kids can read. In a country where enormous pressure is place on kids to perform well on test scores, the company wanted to convey a message to kids that they are their own beings. They don’t have to listen to everything adults tell them. The message on the banner reads, “Listen to a mediocre grownup, and you’ll become mediocre.” Subversive yet cute!

Other banners include, “Hate your teacher? Congratulations, you’re normal” and “Grownups who tell you to study more, know nothing more.” They were installed in a kids bookstore.

August 20, 2009   Comments Off

Good Design Awards | Part 4

Trudging along with my previews of the Good Design Awards, we approach the New Frontier category (not really sure what that means) and the Poster & Campaign category.

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fresh label

Title: Fresh Label
Designer: TO-GENKYO
This was a very clever design that tracks a foods expiration date using a universally accepted visual. Over the last year or so Japan had been struck by a number of scandals involving food companies tampering with expiration dates. The new design keeps people honest by changing colors based on the level of ammonia the food emits as it ages. After it has passed its expiration date the barcode is no longer readable, making it impossible to sell.

handwritten calendar

Title: The Hall of Fame Calendar
Designer: Word Shop
For: Misawa Home
Continuing a 21-year tradition, Misawa Home’s corporate calendar adopts a theme each year of famous individuals (artists, architects, musicians, etc.) and devotes 1 month to 1 individual. They then scan a database of handwritten archives extracting numbers and letters to create a calendar. Each month you are encouraged to delve into that person’s history and learn something you never knew. For 2009 they decided to devote the entire calendar to Natsume Soseki, perhaps the best known novelist in Japan.

truths only kids can see

Title: Truths only kids can see
Designer: Dentsu
For: Kadokawa Tsubasa (a maker of kids books)
Lenticular printing is a very common technology often used in ads that morph as you walk by them. But by simply rotating the printing from horizontal to vertical you create a banner that varies depending on the person’s height. This way they succeeded in creating an ad that only kids can read. In a country where enormous pressure is place on kids to perform well on test scores, the company wanted to convey a message to kids that they are their own beings. They don’t have to listen to everything adults tell them. The message on the banner reads, “If you listen to everything the boring adults tell you, you will turn into a boring adult.” Subversive yet cute!

Related:

August 19, 2009   4 Comments

Good Design Awards | Part 3

Forging along with my preview of the Good Design Awards, today we enter the architecture category.

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cutout (3) cutout
Name: N2-house (carved out house)
Architect: Architect Show
By creating an incision in the façade the architect has invited the outdoors in, while maintaining a level of privacy and comfort. The emphasis on straight lines also contributes to a feeling of openness and freedom.

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Name: House & Yard
Architect: Terajima Architects
Building in central Tokyo comes with all sorts of obstacles, such as the denseness and proximity of neighbors and the prevalence of high-rise apartments and office buildings. By incorporating the Japanese character Ko (コ – basically a sideways U) into the design of the courtyard the architect managed to create an abundance of greenery that can be seen from any room of the house.

Related:

August 19, 2009   Comments Off

Good Design Awards | Part 2

Moving right along with my preview of the Good Design Awards, here is a product from the Kitchen and Home Furniture categories, respectively.

faro01faro02
Product: Faro Coffee Maker
Designer: Kosei Shirotani
For: Kinto
The Faro Coffee Maker attempts to replace everything disposable (plastic cups and paper filters) within coffee-making process. I also like the minamal design and the way it stacks for easy storage.

pumplight
Product: Lamp Pumplight
Designer: Pegatron (sounds like a nerdy transformer)
This is an intruiging lamp that forces us to be more concious of our relationship between light. By using the accompanied hand pump you not only inflate the lamp shell (balloon) but you also increase the intensity of the light!

Preview:
Good Design Awards| Part 1

August 18, 2009   Comments Off